26 January 2017
Volunteering to help other people an make your own life better, writes Abigail Omolade from the Senior Citizens’ Media Group.
In 2006 I had a stroke which caused limited use of one hand and one leg. I promised that if I can use my leg and my hand again, I will help people. I prayed to God to help me recover quickly so that I can help and support others.
When I had recovered slightly, my physiotherapist took me to the Boiler House Community Space and introduced me to the people and the place.
I started to visit the Boiler House regularly on a weekly basis and I also attended the exercise class, which was led by a personal trainer.
When I felt better and able to use my hand and leg more, I joined the volunteer group in order to give back and also help others. I started to assist with making tea and coffee for others, which helped with my recovery as I was able to exercise using one hand to hold cups and serve others.
I was nervous at first but with practice I developed my method of holding cups and it also helped with my communication skills as I was able to have a conversation with others while making a cup of tea.
When the lady who checks our blood pressure left, I put myself forward to assist with checking people’s blood pressure.
This activity required both the use of my leg and hand as I had to assist some members to remove their coats and put them back on.
I helped some members of the group with sitting down and standing up and also relaxing so that the blood pressure machine gives an accurate reading.
I enjoy volunteering and helping others as I give my time and skills to help the community that has helped me recover from my experience. I recommend to both young and old to participate in voluntary work.
Whether you have no skills, lack confidence or are recovering from ill health, voluntary work helps you and you also help others and the community.
When I was growing up in Nigeria, I helped out others whether they were family members, neighbours, visitors to the community. The culture encouraged community work so that people do not feel neglected and alone, especially widows and the elderly. Therefore this has helped me and also my recovery progress.
There is a famous quote from John Donne that says: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent,” This means no one is self-sufficient as we all rely on others to help us to be sufficient, to recover from injury, hurt and pain.
As you rely on others so do others rely on you. You will get a lot from offering your help to others, give it a try you may surprise yourself.
• If you would like to become a volunteer, there are all sorts of different opportunities on offer. You can get in touch with Volunteer Centre Hackney on 020 7241 4443 or go to vchackney.org for more information.